I Made a Gingerbread House For Squirrels and They Absolutely Loved It

This was the entertainment I needed in 2020.

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Holiday decorating is easily the most joyous pastime of the season (besides, of course, eating all the food), but every year I discover that the adorable gingerbread house I've spent lots of money and candy on ends up thrown in the trash, untouched. So, because it's 2020 and every part of the holiday season is looking a bit different, I decided to try making a gingerbread house with a totally new approach. That's right—I made a "gingerbread" house for squirrels.

Not only did I see this as a fun challenge to my food styling creativity (using only their favorite woodland treats to build it), but I also thought it would make a cute outdoor decoration. Turns out, I had just as much fun watching the squirrels nibbling on it as they had devouring it. If you ever want to make a wildlife-friendly gingerbread house for your own furry neighbors — which I'd highly recommend — I'll share exactly how I did it.

As much as I wanted to make this structure out of real gingerbread, I knew flour and sugar were not part of a well-rounded squirrel diet, so I opted for a wooden house as my starting point instead. I found this adorable wooden bird cottage at Hobby Lobby and attached it to a sturdy wooden base using wood glue. I also drilled a few holes in the corners of the base, allowing me to stake the house into the ground once it was finished.

Next up, the main event: decor! I gathered all the seeds, nuts, and dried fruits I could find in the grocery store, trying to have as much variety in shape and color as possible. That left me with raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried blueberries, coconut, pistachios, pecans, almonds, walnuts, dried corn, sunflower seeds, and a few different kinds of bird seed.

I should also mention, this project required a WHOLE LOT of peanut butter, which is what I used as my glue.

After that, let your creativity take it from there! I used a spatula to spread the peanut butter over whatever section of the house I was working on, then covered it with my edible supplies. There's really no wrong way to go about it—squirrels don't judge. But, insider tip: shredded coconut makes a great faux snow effect.

Then, put your house outside and watch as the squirrels enjoy your holiday gift. Or, just watch above to see what they did to mine. Happy Holidays!

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